Seriously it really isn't that bad at all so don't sweat it!

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi concerned reader, look I appreciate everyone’s experience is different but having been told I was due to have colonoscopy, reading “this is the worse pain of your life”, “kill yourself now because the 30 min procedure will do it anyway” didn’t exactly inspire me to actually go through with it , even though I knew I had to. In fact given that you have so many opportunities to back out i.e. not  do the 24 hour prep, refuse to sign the consent forms( on a number of occasions), do a runner from the waiting room, bolt from the bed with your buttocks hanging out prior to sedation, reading stuff like that was not helpful and powered up the lungs of the procrastinating voice in my head that needs little encouragement.


Heck I understand if you have a bad experience you are more likely to put finger to keypad than someone who finds it plain sailing and is just relieved it is all over. I am not saying you shouldn’t prepare a patient for what might happen as crikey it is human nature to want to be armed with all the facts but all I am saying is it doesn’t actually help anyone to hear horror stories, which much of the time will be isolated incidents.


I will probably go on to contradict myself but here is my story and is kind of what I would have liked to hear entering the Colonoscopy pathway. Ok so I am 40 years old, had never been to the doctors or had so much as a blood test until I began having digestive problems and experiencing lower right hand side back pain, resulting in the loss of 10/12 kilos over the course of a month. Anyway my wife after much moaning from me set an appointment with a local GP, which led to  blood tests, stool samples, wee samples, more blood tests, bowel specialist, CT Scan and then.......ahhhhh Colonoscopy. This was all in a two month time period so moved pretty quickly but I guess the weight loss, combined with unexplained symptoms sped it along.


So I had the Colonoscopy on Tuesday it is Friday today. The Moviprep the day before really isn’t that bad I had an afternoon appointment so took one litre at 7pm and the next at 6am which I think is probably easier than the 5pm and then again at 8pm if you have a morning appointment. I have to say the one litre drink does seem to take forever to drink but it really isn’t that bad I probably hit the poo poo factory 55 mins in and it went watery almost straightaway. It is a different experience but after an hour and a half I was done and slept pretty ok. I got up at 5 am instead of 6am for the second lot and slipped in a two hour nap between 8am and 10 am.


Ok appointment was at 1.15pm  I got there half an hour early and got down to the paperwork straight away so would recommended. However thinking about it.... it probably means you are left waiting on the bed half an hour longer after you get gowned up, but hey what you gonna do?


If you are getting the Colonoscopy done of the NHS like most of us you can expect to be queued up one after the other to go in and have the procedure done. There were 4 people before me and all had sedation so you get to see the condition they come back in which was encouraging as all but one was sitting up and chatting and not distressed at all on their return. One was pretty zonked out still when he came back but the sedation effects us all differently and I am pretty sure there was no pain in the planet he was on at that time!  


Then it was my turn, I got wheeled in, put on my left side and then my bum was exposed and positioned in the air like it just didn’t care. This is my one slight grip there were like 4 people going in and out of the room chatting about the previous patient and his course of action while I sat there exposed for a good five minutes....would have been nice if a little blanket could have been placed upon my lonely, cold buttock during this period! Anyway the sedation is administered and the consultant talks you through it all and pretty soon after the camera goes up and for me anyway I felt next to nothing and stayed awake the whole time. I watched it on the monitor which was interesting at first but it is amazing how quickly that becomes boring. You are aware when they turn the camera around the corner as they pump extra air in so it feels weird for 5 seconds but soon passes as does the time it feels like five minutes but you can tell from the clock it is a good half hour. They took 3 biopsies for me, which you don’t feel at all but get to view on the monitor.  


Once it is over you are wheeled back to the ward as the next victim...SORRY patient desperately analyses your face for signs of distress. I was tempted to hang my tongue out and moan but instead told the guy “ don’t worry it is a walk in the park” through my oxygen mask, which I don’t think you need as I swear no air come out of it.....maybe they only use it if necessary. Anyway he was grateful for that and told me so when we shared a tea and a biscuit in the recovery room an hour later!


I was sitting up and was fine, straightaway. However maybe I was  too confident as when the nurse was taking my blood pressure one last time I felt really hot and dizzy and she saw the colour drain from my face but this only lasted a couple of minutes but goes to show you can’t mess about with sedation even if you feel fine it does have an effect on your body. Anyway I was fine, got dressed and  went to the recovery room and talked it over with one of the docs who said no polyps or anything horrible and probable IBS but they would wait for the biopsies to come back and the bowel specialist would discuss that and my CT scan ( taken over two weeks before but I hadn’t heard anything which I assume and at time of typing still assume is a good thing, touch wood!) with the bowel specialist I had seen previously.


My wife then picked me up after, I had probably been in hospital for 2 and a half hours. We picked the kids up from their after school clubs and went to the supermarket where I was tasked with making dinner so as you can probably tell was good to go. Slept well that night and woke up with a bit of a headache due to the sedative I am guessing but went to work as normal. It took a while to build up enough solids to have a number two which was towards the end of the day but I am happy to report all was well...............I was half expecting a scene from Alien given the biopsies and stuff that had gone on in my large intestine!    

Anyway I hope this helps someone else that is worried, seriously don’t sweat it ;0)

2 likes, 14 replies

Report / Delete

14 Replies

  • Posted

    Thanks Bryan, I really enjoyed that -laughed out loud a couple of times too. So glad you had a good experience, I did too the first

    time I had this procedure, slept the whole way through it, it was a doddle!

    Like you my procedure was on Tuesday 6th October but what I

    experienced was the polar opposite of the first time, the meds

    didn't seem to work. While I lay there waiting for the 'red wine

    effect' to go over my brain they started and they didn't stop, even though I was in agony, squirming and calling out. It was a very

    traumatising experience, one that I never want to repeat.

    So while I'm really made up for you and your 'no sweat'

    procedure please don't disregard / make fun of what others have

    had to endure- you were lucky, very lucky.

    Hope it goes as well the next time.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Dear Ellen


      I sincerely hope it is just me being oversensitive and I know you often misread someone’s true motive in the written form of an e-mail but your tone does sound particularly nasty i.e the way you deliver  .....hoping it goes as well for me next time!


      I like I am sure most people in “our” position sincerely hope that there isn’t a next time as that would undoubtedly mean a positive outcome.

      Also at no point do I say it was “NO SWEAT” or MAKE FUN of anyone. In fact my sole intention is completely the opposite, actually on rereading I go out of my way to say how I appreciate everyone is different and it effects everyone differently.

      The reason I posted is that having read posts such as yours with talk of agony, squirming and calling out really doesn’t help in a forum where people are scared stiff and looking for any excuse to run away from the procedure because let’s be honest we all thought about doing that!!

      Yes my post was lighthearted, because Gods knows the whole experience is scary enough mentally if not LUCKY for me not physically. So in short I wasn’t disregarding anyone I was just trying to help those that might be facing up to a colonoscopy that they don’t need to sweat it ( it is a common phase by the way, its connotations are slightly different to NO SWEAT)  and it really might not be as bad as the Hammer House of Horror picture you seem to be so keen to present to someone, who has no choice but to go through it!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted


      You misinterpreted what I was meaning, I wasn't being nasty.

      You had mentioned you had biopsies and that's why I wrote-

      'Hope it goes....'.

      I was comparing my own experiences and I am really offended

      by your -Hammer House of Horrors-remark, it was uncalled for.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Bryan

    Your experience of the dreaded colonoscopy really made me smile - and I hope this will give encouragement to anyone who is about to face this. Its a couple of years since my colonoscopy, and although I hated the whole procedure, looking back on it I suppose it wasn't as dreadful as I said it was. My result was not a good one, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. But that is history now, after the treatment I am completely cancer free, so its proof just how important these procedures are. Thank you for your amusing post I am sure this will inspire people to 'go for it' and many more lives will be saved


    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Margaret. Good to read that you are completely cancer free! What was your treatment? I had surgery and the surgeon took out the tumor, a length of bowel and 22 lymph nodes. He said I would not need chemotherapy. Two years later the follow up colonoscopy (my first,) all blood tests and a CT scan have been reassuring but they say you have to wait 5 years before they can feel confident that all is well. By the way, my colonoscopy was no problem and believe in or not, the CT results were available the day after the scan! I was expecting about a ten day wait...
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hello John

      I am sorry to hear of your cancer, but pleased that you are on the mend,

      it seems your surgery was much more involved than mine.  I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in its very early stage,Stage 0 which is the earliest stage possible.  I had 5 days of radiotherapy, followed by surgery to remove a small section of my bowel where the tumour was located.  After my diagnosis was confirmed everything happened very quickly.  The cancer had not affected my lymph nodes so they were not removed I didn't even need chemo before or after my surgery and thankfully there was no spread anywhere else.  I had to have a Stoma which I have for over a year, and this is going to be reversed in February.  I have been told I will have to have annual colonoscopies, but I am hoping this is just precaution.  I have not been told of the possibility of the cancer returning, but I am realistic, I suppose there is always a risk.

      Try not to worry, it seems, like me, you have been lucky and seen the back of this beast.  I really wish you well, and enjoy a long and healthy life


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Yes it was quite nasty, mainly because nobody realised what it was until the CT scan. Then I was taken to theatre and having surgery about 3 hours later. They can move fast when they have to! The surgeon had to be called in, so I ruined his afternoon off. It was so urgent that I was signing consent forms while lying on my back on the operating table. 'The worst I have ever seen' and 'another night we could have lost you,' were the memorable comments from the surgeon.

      But, all is well so far and I'm not worried about future colonoscopies. The next one is in two years. Keep well and enjoy your approaching Winter if you are in the U.K. 

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted


    i have just read the reply to your post from Ellen and it seems she has really missed your point.  You obviously made your experience lighthearted in the hope that while a colonoscopy is not a walk in the park, it doesn't kill you.  I am sure that Ellen as well as you,me and loads of others dreaded this procedure and would have preferred to stick pins in their eyes rather than face up to it.  But we all know, especially people like me, that this procedure is the sure way of showing up any nasties, which can be treated, and most of the time successfully.  I think we are very lucky to have these procedures available to us,  I had a relative in the 1950's who died of bowel cancer, because there was nothing available to detect it early.

    i wish Ellen good health, and everyone out there who has got a colonoscopy coming soon.  I am sure Bryan your intention was to alleviate some of the fears people may face.


    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    My experience was a lot like yours back in July except I refused sedation and had a much more discomfort than you had.  It was very uncomfortable at times but it didn't last that long and I would do it the same way again without hesistation. The doctor used as little air as possible.  At one point I asked for more air so he could see where he was going but he didn't need it. He seemed to know every twist and turn like a long time driver going down a mountain road at night.  The good thing was that I was not wheeled out, I got off the bed myself and got dressed, no recovery required.   The only mishap was the I.V. site, in case I needed pain relief, bruised and bleed a lot.

    I am intrigued that I had little problem with an unsedated colonoscopy and yet a lot of people were in agony with sedation.   Does anyone know why some people are in absolute agony during a colonoscopy and others don't even have anything but temporary discomfort from it?   Why the massive difference?  Because of this massive difference I cannot advocate an unsedated colonoscopy for any specific person.  All I can do is tell my experience and have them decide for themselves.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Worst experience of my life, first one they had to stop as I was in so much pain I was told to stop screaming this was with sedation, had to have it carried out again 3 months later with paediatric scope plus gas and air, still had to be held down, sedation does not work for me, ever have it done again will need to be out of it!!! 
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I am glad to hear your experience was fine.  I'll have my doctor schedule you for a colonoscopy when he wants me to have one.
    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up